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When and where?

Write down what you want to get out of your time abroad. Working out what you want to achieve will help determine the choices you make. Research your options well, make good arrangements and make sure to consider your study plan carefully.


During your Bachelor’s programme

The most obvious time to go abroad is during the free electives phase of your Bachelor’s programme. You are then relatively unrestricted in the courses you can follow and the credits you earn abroad can generally be counted towards your studies in Leiden.

During your Master’s programme

In general students on two-year (research) Master’s programmes are advised to spend a semester or more abroad. During your Master’s studies you get to analyse your subject matter in more depth therefore a period of study abroad can be very beneficial. Students on one-year Master’s programmes can also study abroad but this can be trickier to organise. If you’re not sure when would be the best time for you, speak to your study adviser.

After your studies

Of course you can also choose to go abroad after your studies, for example to do an (additional) Master’s programme. However this can have its drawbacks, so make sure to read the information on doing an entire Master's programme carefully in advance.


In general different procedures apply depending on whether you will study within or outside Europe. This is especially true for exchange programmes. The EP-Nuffic website is a handy tool for researching possible study destinations. If you have a particular country in mind it’s easier to focus your research.

You can also search through all Leiden University's exchange agreements.

Safe destination
Students cannot travel to or through a region that has been given a colour code of orange or red by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for any purposes relating to their studies
. Always check the travel advice (in Dutch) issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to make sure you have selected a safe destination.

Finding out more

A great start to your preparations is a visit to the annual Study Abroad Festival. This event is organised every autumn by Leiden University. You’ll be provided with information about your options, the procedures and deadlines involved, and all the practical aspects of studying abroad. Meet students who have just returned from their study abroad adventure and hear about their experiences. There’s no better way to prepare for your time abroad. 

There are lots of websites and sources that provide useful information on all aspects of studying abroad:

  • EP-Nuffic:information about internships, scholarships and countries;
  • Fulbright: for students wanting to study or undertake research in the United States;
  • AIESEC: an organisation that offers assistance in searching for internships;
  • Wilweg.nl: a website that assembles information on all kinds of possibilities for spending time abroad;
  • Information about finances;
  • Speak to Leiden students who have already been abroad.

Do you still have questions about studying abroad after reading this web information? If so, please contact the study abroad staff at the international relations department or consult our FAQs.

Photo credits: Kevin Wallace - Madagascar

“Great things happen only outside your comfort zone.” MSc student ICTinB

During your studies, you can go abroad to follow courses or a research project:

If you are interested in studying abroad, make sure to join one of the Faculty’s info sessions in October or March, send the orientation form to the Science International Office (outgoing@science.leidenuniv.nl) and read the student reports on our blackboard course  ‘Study & Internship Abroad - Faculty of Science’.


If you want to follow courses, we advise you to follow courses abroad as part of your BSc minor or during your 2nd MSc year. MSc Mathematics students are specific advised to study abroad during term 2 of their 1st MSc year. For a research project abroad, your 2nd MSc research project will probably be most suitable.

If you are not sure which time suits best to go abroad, please discuss this with your study advisor.

Where: courses (exchange)

If you want to follow courses abroad, you can choose among the different partner universities with which the faculty or university has a so-called 'exchange agreement'. As an exchange student, you will have the advantage that you will not have to pay the tuition fees of the university abroad and you can use the credits for your curriculum here in Leiden.

List of University-wide agreements: outside Europe
List of Faculty of Science agreements: mostly inside Europe

To decide where to study, you need to check which partner universities are offering courses in your study area of interest. Thereby check the teaching language of the exchange university as some universities may ask to prove your proficiency in a specific language.

Where: research project or internship

If you want to go abroad to follow a research project, you are not limited to the list of exchange partner universities . You can take your research project at an university, but also at another organization or company.

You can find more information on the page internships abroad.

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